For a long time I was always tired and mentioned it a few times to Dr who did some blood work and asked if I was depressed and nothing really came of it so I didn't bring it up anymore. The only thing that was found was elevated liver enzymes that I had since I got out of military but no one looked into. I assumed that's why I was tired.
Fast forward years later and my Dr was promoted so I saw a PA. We didn't talk about sleep, or me being tired, or headaches or snoring or anything. In fact we mostly talked about hypertension and cholesterol. She told me she thought I had sleep apnea and that I shoild get a sleep study done. I was told that the veterans choice program was pretty much broke at the time and I would likely have to wait 6 to 8 months and drive an hour to have it done.
We never got into why she thought I had it but I said I would pass and waig until veterans choice got more funding because I didn't want go wait that long to be told I didn't have sleep apnea.
A couple weeks later I had an open biopsy done on my forearm ( I was selected for additional anesthesia screening because I had airway collapse during tonsillectomy). When I woke up from sedation someone from anesthesia team came over and said I had sleep apnea. I asked if they were sure and they said yes they were sure.
After that I went back go VA and said I would like a sleep study done. Luckily I was able to see a non VA provider and it only took a couple months.
I told Technician before test that I doubted I had sleep apnea but anesthesiologist said I did.
Results were severe sleep apnea.
During this time my exhaustion became unbearable. I called VA before I got sleep Study results because I was having a tough time. I literally started balling my eyes out during entire conversation of trying to get appointment. I couldn't help it and I never cry.
Exhaustion and brain fog kept getting worse then I finally got my APAP. Original settings were 4 to 20. The great advice here quickly had me increase minimum pressure to 6.
I was having great numbers and still exhausted. It only got slightly better then started getting worse again. So I googled and googled some more. I was trying to find a way to fast track feeling better which I can imagine everyone wants.
I found a thread on another forum that someone said they noticed almost immediate improvement when adding supplemental 02 to their CPAP. Which led me to see if I could qualify for it. My numbers were already at 2 ahi or better.
From what I read I learned I needed to have oxygen desaturation below 88% for minimum of 5 minutes ( i have now learned that even that isn't probably to harmful if it's only 5 minutes). I went online and bought an inexpensive recording pulse oximeter.
I was getting readings around 5 minutes under 88% when sleeping with daytime SP02 usually around 93%. I showed this to sleep center who ordered an overnight oximetry test. That showed. I was under 88% for 93 minutes and under 90% for around 5 hours out of 9 hours recording time.
I ended up convincing them to give me supplemental oxygen until I could have a titration study done. My brain fog and mental confusion and exhaustion went away pretty quickly after starting the oxygen and I was left with excessive sleepiness which was a big improvement.
I had my titration study and am now on CPAP setting of 10. No more supplemental oxygen. I'm still having some oxygenation issues some nights but not all nights.
As a result of the oxygenation issues and fatigue despite great numbers I was sent to pulmonologist and found out I have mild restrictive lung disease. My gas exchange and lungs themselves are good but my lung capacity is reduced and it looks like my tidal volume is low.
Overall I'm feeling much better. Brain still isn't working like it used too yet after 4 months but exhaustion is way better. Energy is to do things is back as well!
So what did I learn personally? Sometimes a little more min pressure where appropriate can make all the difference ( min pressure can help oxygenation). Don't ever give up and you can get some great advice.
I was just on vacation and had the energy to hike!